Feb 29, 2012

A special typography print

I think I've mentioned before that my father-in-law owns a printing business. He's also a big collector of antique and old printing equipment. I'm not gonna lie, having a family member in the printing business doesn't hurt. I mean, check out these gorgeous letterpress wedding invitations he made us.

I blurred out our names to protect against creepers...

For Christmas, he gave me this fabulous letterpress typography print he made using various type he has in his collection. I don't know how he knew I would totally love this, but he did.

He said he tried to use every letter of the alphabet. And he personalized it by adding in our initials...so sweet!

The number 64 is also important to us.

He was kind enough to let me peek into his operation so I could see how he made the print. He's got drawers and drawers full of type -- letters, images, borders, etc.

He laid all the wood type for the print out in this little press, called a proof press, and then used a roller, called a brayer, to apply the ink.

The paper goes on top (not pictured), and then this big roller thing goes over the top...

He did it a few times to try different papers and until the ink had the right look. These are the extras.

A couple more shots of his super-cool old printing equipment.

Thanks again to my father-in-law for the print and for letting me take pictures of his operation!

Feb 22, 2012

Virtual (and a little real) shopping at L.L.Bean

I consider myself lucky to live close to the home of L.L.Bean. For locals and out-of-staters alike, it's a total Maine icon. Bean's campus in Freeport includes the flagship store, a hunting and fishing store, and a home store, as well as a nearby ski and bike store and an outlet store. They do all kinds of fun stuff at their campus at all times of the year, including fireworks on the Fourth of July, free outdoor summer concerts and my favorite, a giant Christmas tree!

L.L.Bean also has a little bit of everything. You can buy a hunting rifle, a sleeping bag, a leather couch and a sundress. You might think their home items would all scream hunting lodge (I mean, there is a giant hunting boot outside their store!), but actually their selection is pretty diverse. I got their home catalog recently and found a few things I'm totally loving (all photos from the L.L.Bean website):

This clock is kind of retro-looking and would be totally fun for a guest room.

This throw looks so cozy, and the plaid is traditional while the colors are cool and contemporary.

I sooo want a couple of these chairs for our sitting area off the kitchen. They are petite but just right for sitting, sipping cocoa and catching up with friends.

If we had space for this coffee table in our living room, I'd totally snag it. It's both rustic and modern at the same time.

I'm not usually a fan of plaid sheets, but I just love the color of these ones. And their flannel sheets are to-die-for soft and warm.

If I could get one of these town-line signs with the name of my hometown on it, I totally would. One of these would add some a little whimsy to a light and airy living room.

Okay, this isn't a home item, but I gotta throw in this awesome tent -- that's big enough to practically be a home! This tent has a spacious sleeping area that even the hubs, at 6'2", can stand up in, as well as a separate screened-in sitting area that's super handy for storing your stuff or for getting out of the sun or rain. L.L.Bean tents are totally worth the money, because they hold up to everything.

I can't end this post without showing off something I actually bought at L.L.Bean recently. I popped into the outlet store the other weekend and found these fabulous zip-up Bean boots. There was only one pair, and these were my size -- it was fate!

Warning -- awkward foot self-portrait...

These babies are super-duper warm, thanks to their shearling lining. The website says they're ideal for temperatures from 25 degrees to 10 below. They keep my toes nice and toasty while I'm driving to work.

I swear, they are so cushy and cozy, it feels like your feet are totally wrapped in one of those memory foam pillows. Plus, they're made here in Maine.

And since I got them at the outlet store, they were $135 instead of $199. Score!

*Disclaimer: L.L.Bean did not compensate me for or in any way endorse this post. I just like their stuff!

Feb 17, 2012

An old trunk's history

Hey all, and happy Friday! I'm just popping in to share with you some information about my old trunk that I thought you'd find super-cool (if you totally geek out about the history of antique and vintage finds like I do!).

I did some online searching after I bought the trunk to find out the best way to restore it to some of its former glory and stumbled across this fabulous resource called Brettuns Village Trunk Services. Not only is this site informative, but it's also seriously entertaining to read -- it had me laughing out loud with writing like this: "We can tell you countless stories of the folks who have dragged their sorry behinds into the shop, red eyes, begging for Grandad's trunk back. We tell them we're sorry, but the trunk was sold to a guy in Minnesota who stores his cross-dressing supplies in it when he isn't using it as a stand for his piranha tank."

I was delightfully surprised to discover that this trunk shop is located right here in Maine, and, actually, probably less than 20 miles from my house. The universe is crazy like that!

So I felt a deep connection to this place when I sent them an email with some photos of my trunk, asking if they could tell me anything about its origins. I didn't expect a reply, at least not a timely one, since their website said they get dozens of emails a week and it's often hard to ID a trunk through photos. So I was surprised all over again when, bright and early the next morning, I received an email back from the manager, Churchill Barton. Here's what he had to say about my trunk's history:

Many trunks of this style were made by larger contract factories and then sold through the Sears or Wards catalogs back in the 1880s up through about 1910.  If you can find an old Sears catalog from way back then you can probably find a picture of this trunk in there, and it was probably priced at about $2.25 or maybe $2.50, believe it or not.  Two of the larger makers of these trunks were MM Secor and M. Meier, both of whom employed several hundred workers. 

He also said the casters on the bottom are original, but some other hardware, like screws holding the lid hinges on, are not original: "(there were no screws used on old trunks, ever)(not one)(I mean it)." I think it's safe to assume Mr. Barton is the hilariously sarcastic writer behind the website, don't you think? :)

I just think it's so cool to think about this trunk being made over 100 years ago, advertised in a Sears catalog, purchased and used who knows where, and now it's made its way to me, and could maybe last another 100 years if I refinish it right (and my kids and grandkids think it's equally as cool and hang onto it or sell it instead of tossing it in the trash). Just thinking about touching something that other hands touched way back before there were cars and phones and all kinds of other modern conveniences puts me in awe. The world has changed so much, but this little trunk is still kicking! Super. Awesome. (See, I do totally geek out to this stuff!)

If you've got an old trunk or now totally want one, check out Brettuns Village for lots of tips for refinishing. They also sell all kinds of replacement parts -- I'm thinking of buying some new leather handles for my trunk, since those have totally fallen apart.

Hope you all have a good weekend! If you go out and buy yourself a trunk, I want to see pictures. :)

Feb 16, 2012

Storage on my mind...

I don't know if it's because I've got office organization on the brain, but I couldn't go two steps in HomeGoods the other day without finding awesomely adorable storage containers. I found so many I had to snap some pics with my phone and share their awesomeness with you! (So excuse my crummy phone pics.)

Love-love-love the pastels in these ekat totes.

I almost died over these metal cut-out containers. They had black, gray, red and aqua.

Black and white geometric = perfection

These Waverly-print containers had me falling all over myself. Aren't they gorgeous?? They had boxes with lids, boxes that zipped up and travel containers.

Apparently I'm very into black and white these days...with a touch of green, that is! I like the simplicity of these square and rectangle totes. I think the pattern either looks like leaves or amoeba.

Okay, these weren't at Home Goods -- I actually spotted them at Lowe's. But they get an honorable mention for being super cute. And for not being black and white! I'm digging the Moroccan-looking pattern on the inside and the leather trim.

So, I'm sure you want to know what I came home with, right? Here ya go!

Now picture me walking around HomeGoods trying to carry all these things AND take pictures with my phone. :)

I had to snag this flower box because it's the same print as the fabric I used to jazz up my bulletin board (also a Waverly fabric).


The pattern is called "Button blossoms"

I totally fell for this damask-esque print, so I bought this lidded box. The lid is even a little padded, so it really feels like a substantial storage container.

And I picked up a pair of these metal baskets. They seemed like the perfect shape and size to hold notebooks or file folders.

I also bought this organizer for our desk drawer. It punches up the inside real nice, and it's useful.

We're still organizing the office, so I can't show you these in action yet. But stay tuned!

Where do you find cute-and-functional organizational supplies? Did you see anything in this roundup you're coveting for yourself?

Feb 13, 2012

What came home with me the other weekend {thrifty finds}

Hey, hey! Welcome to another week! Hope you all had a great weekend.

I made a little trip to the flea market the other weekend. It's like one of my favorite places. I could spend hours just walking around in there looking for those little gems -- it's like a grown-up scavenger hunt!

Last year I shared some of my tips for flea marketing (can that be a verb?? I'm making it one!), but I'll recap one here -- go with a list of things you want to keep your eye out for. Otherwise you'll be wandering around aimlessly and come home empty-handed or with something you don't really need.

I'm always looking for pretty glass bottles that aren't too expensive. They're my total weakness, and I love the way they look grouped in twos or threes. I found these two bad boys and made them mine.

The one on the left was $8 and the one on the right was $5. I was really excited about the demijohn because I already have its big brother!

Family reunion!

I love the shape and color of this one.

I was really curious to know what it was for, especially since the bottom says Sunsweet. A bottle for...raisins?

Nope, prune juice from the 1930s and 40s! I found this old ad for it from 1935. Love it! It was $3.

Now, this item wasn't really on my list, but as soon as I spotted it, I knew it would be perfect for our office.

It's an old navigational chart of the entrance of the Kennebec River here in Maine (which I was calling a "map" until the hubs, who happens to work in a nautical-related industry, politely informed me that it was in fact a chart. I didn't know there was a difference!). The vendor had a bunch of these charts, but this one was older and had all these pretty colors -- the others were just flat yellow and white.

I also picked it because it shows two of my fahh-aavorite beaches here in Maine, Reid State Park and Popham Beach. It only cost me $6! And it's from 1947.

I'm not sure yet how I'm going to frame it, since it's bigger than a poster and custom framing will cost me mucho bucks. Lucky for me, my father-in-law is a jack of all trades and has the equipment and access to materials to make me a frame and a mat for it. The glass will probably run me $50, so it won't be super cheap, but it's worth it for such a cool piece of art. I was very happy to bring home something from the flea market the hubs actually thought was cool!

This last item was more of an impulse buy -- I drove by this little flea market place (the same place I got my convex mirror), saw it outside and literally turned around to check it out. This item has always been on my list but I wasn't actively searching for one because I don't reaaaally need it, and they are usually a bigger chunk of change than I like to drop at the flea market. I like to keep my purchases under $15 because it makes me feel thrifty -- am I super cheap or what?! :) But once I saw this amazing price tag, I had. to. have. this.

An antique trunk! I just think these things are beautiful no matter how beat up and dirty and ugly they actually are. But all the ones I've seen have been upwards of $100 and I just couldn't justify it. But this one was, get this, only $10! I kind of thought it was a mistake, but apparently not. I bought it with a tinge of guilt because I knew the hubs wouldn't be thrilled with me bringing another piece of old furniture into the house waiting for a redo. But with a $10 price tag, you've just gotta go for it!

I'm no antique trunk expert, but I have figured out that this guy is probably made of pine, covered with pressed tin that could have been originally glazed or painted, and the wooden slats are probably oak.

It also has these adorable little casters on the bottom that I just love to death!

Its leather handles are deteriorating and some of the metal pieces are rusty, and it needs a very thorough cleaning.

And let's not even talk about the inside...

Yep, it needs some work, but I'm hoping it'll look pretty cool when it's all done. It could also go in the office, or maybe our bedroom.

So, that's all the old junk awesome stuff I picked up recently! Have you done any good thrifting lately? Have you ever refinished an old trunk? Got any tips? I sure could use them!